Gary Johnson Contrasts Himself With Ron Paul, Obama, GOP Field, Past and Present Libertarian Presidential Contenders

From Mike Riggs at Reason, describing Gary Johnson’s speech to the ACLU:

Johnson said he’d cut the military’s budget and end Obama’s interventionism. It wasn’t until he got started on legalizing marijuana that the crowd (figuratively) lit up. A steady stream of applause followed Johnson’s declarations after that.

“I support gay marriage equality. I support repealing the PATRIOT Act. I would have vetoed the Department of Homeland Security, because I think it’s redundant. I would’ve never established the department of—the TSA agency. I think we should end the practices of torture. Period. I can understand the complexities in the following, but I think we should end the practices of detainment without being charged. There is nothing I want to see the government come in and fix with the Internet.”

Johnson also made a point throughout the evening of highlighting the differences between himself and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who sought and received Johnson’s endorsement in 2008.

“I don’t think that Ron Paul is going to win the Republican nomination. For the most part, we are talking about the same message, but we do have differences. And when he drops out, or finds an end to the Republican primary, I don’t see this agenda moving forward,” Johnson said.

“And I think it’s important to point out differences between myself and Ron Paul. I don’t support building a fence across the border, I do support gay marriage equality, I do believe in a strong national defense. I do believe in our alliance with Israel, for example. And I think military alliances are key to reducing military spending by 43 percent and still provide for a strong national defense. And I believe in a woman’s right to choose.”

The crowd went nuts over that last one.

Nate Nelson at United Liberty adds:

Johnson could pose problems for both Obama and the eventual Republican nominee. On the one hand, Johnson built a very solid fiscal and economic record as Governor of New Mexico — which could appeal to Paul supporters and other Republicans as well as right-leaning independents who may feel disaffected if Romney, Gingrich, or Santorum wins the GOP nomination. On the other hand, there are some remarkable differences between Johnson and Paul that could help him succeed in appealing to the more left-leaning so-called “liberaltarians” and even some non-libertarian progressive Democrats and independents whom Paul has so far failed to win over.

It’s unlikely in the extreme that Johnson will win the presidential election. The electoral game is too rigged against third parties and, besides, the Libertarian Party’s dysfunctional nomination process will officially put him into the general election campaign far too late for him to assemble the kind of grassroots movement he’d need to win. But Johnson could well be a problem for both major parties. He could be competitive in his home state and throughout the Southwest, which could make the race for some pivotal swing states even more interesting than usual. In other words, he could play the role of spoiler in the upcoming general election even better than Ralph Nader did in 2000, and it should scare the pants off both Republicans and Democrats that it’s still unclear whose campaign he could spoil.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero also drew the Nader comparison:

“Do you run the risk, in other words, of being a Ralph Nader, given the fact that you have so much more coincidence with the president’s agenda than with Mr. Romney or Mr. Gingrich?”

Meanwhile, Johnson has an article in the conservative Washington Times newspaper spelling out his plan for spending cuts and a national sales tax plan known by its proponents as the FairTax. Excerpt:

Here I present a simple but drastic economic plan to foster a boom in America.

First, we need to get rid of the income tax. When our first great Supreme Court justice, John Marshall, equated the power to tax and the power to destroy, he was predicting what’s happening to our country right now. Giant, slow corporations spend their money on lobbying because tax avoidance is where their profit is. General Electric earned $14.2 billion in 2010 and paid zero taxes on it. Why? Because it has the lobbyists to get subsidies and tax breaks.

But those mom-and-pop stores? The tech startups? The nimble new corporations with new ideas and new visions for our economy? They pay as much as 35 cents on every dollar they earn. When the company pays its employees, the government taxes that money again. We need to stop taxing work, savings and investment. I advocate removing all income taxes, all capital-gains taxes, and replacing them with a consumption tax, kind of a national sales tax called the Fair-tax.

We also need to get rid of payroll taxes. Look at it from the perspective of employers for a moment. When they want to hire someone, it costs more than just the wage they’re paying. They have to pay payroll taxes, including for Social Security and Medicare. That cost is about 10 percent of the wages they pay an employee. Remove that burden, and employers will be able to hire 10 percent more people. With an unemployment rate of 10 percent, why wouldn’t we jump at this chance? The Fair-tax replaces employment and payroll taxes.

[…]

At the same time, I have proposed cutting the federal budget by 43 percent to bring it into balance. It can be done. It requires the will and ability to ignore and even fight the special interests that have a vested interest in more and more government spending. Our system is corrupted by special-interest campaign contributions. Crony capitalism permeates our government. The result is that, as the Congressional Budget Office reported this week, the deficit for 2012 will once again exceed $1 trillion.

The Washinton Times article incorrectly says that “Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party nominee for president….”

Johnson’s plan stands in contrast to candidates such as Lee Wrights and RJ Harris, who are also seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination and have different proposals on taxes and spending. Wrights has his own plan for cutting spending and a couple of articles laying out his criticism of the FairTax (TM) plan, while Harris says

Fellow citizens, if you elect me as President I will exempt you from personal taxes by ending the IRS and allowing nothing to take its place. Then I will end the federal welfare system and the benefits will come from having stopped the government from stealing what you earn along with your ability to be as thrifty or as beneficent as you choose.

Finally, Johnson’s campaign has put out a message contrasting their candidate with two other past Libertarian presidential nominees other than Ron Paul (1988) – Bob Barr (2008) and Michael Badnarik (2004), and also by implication with Harry Browne (1996/2000).

George Phillies reports:

In a widely-circulated message “Paid for by Gary Johnson 2012” a writer identified as Andrew Ferguson wrote in part:

“Flash back to the last election cycle. No, go back two, to 2004, when the LP, still reeling from Harry Browne’s machinations, nominated a complete unknown as its presidential candidate. The list of “missed opportunities by the Libertarian Party” is a long and tragicomic one, but surely the choice of Michael Badnarik must be at or near the top: in an election evenly split between the military-statist Bush and the eco-statist Gore, the LP could’ve had a healthy cut of the excluded middle – but Badnarik’s was not the name to draw those voters.”

(The letter writer seems to have been unaware that Kerry was the Democratic nominee who ran against Badnarik in 2004, and that Al Gore ran against Harry Browne in 2000, with Bush being the Republican nominee both times. Back to the letter:)

“In 2008, with that swing-and-a-miss behind them, the LP whiffed with the opposite approach, nominating a big name who was a, shall we say, imperfect fit with party ideals. I’m not one to deny the place of pragmatism in politics, but the man who authored the Defense of Marriage Amendment and fervently prosecuted the Drug War was a strange choice for the supposed party of freedom. No matter how hard he pushed his Road to Damascus narrative, a large chunk of the LP base (namely, donors and state and local party poobahs) was never going to buy into his campaign.”

“As a result, Bob Barr’s failure was utterly predictable – the rift in the party in 2008 was clear for all to see – but more to the point, just as utterly inevitable. In Barack Obama, the Democrats found a candidate who could reach out to the same undecideds the LP tries to make its own – those looking to cast a vote in dissent, anything so long as it has nothing to do with the party in power. Empty as we now know (or always knew) his promises of “Hope” and “Change” to be, they were nonetheless effective in closing off any change the Libertarians had of playing a role in the last cycle.”

(I believe that the writer meant chance, not change, in the last part of the preceding sentence. Back to the letter:)

“All of which is to say, the LP screwed up by getting its candidates backward – if anything, the off-the-ranch Republican with name recognition would have fared much better in 2004, serving as an alternative to two unpalatable statists. Meanwhile, 2008 would have been the time to run an outsider, someone who could elucidate a libertarian point of view, in the rare moments he (or she – vide Mary Ruwart) was called upon to do so.”

106 thoughts on “Gary Johnson Contrasts Himself With Ron Paul, Obama, GOP Field, Past and Present Libertarian Presidential Contenders

  1. John Jay Myers

    Unfortunately I am starting to get a feeling the Gary Johnson is not going to be the torch bearer for libertarian ideas I had hoped.

    He seems to understand things are wrong, like bans on gay marriage, but does not understand Paul’s position on it, or even the libertarian position on it, it is simply not our business.

    But as you know the main reason that I am getting the heebee geebies from the guy is twofold, one from a question I asked him in Denton Texas, where when asked about Gitmo, he said that “Obama was against it, and then when he became president must have learned that it was important” (or something along those lines) Which made me just think, “geez dude, that’s because people say things to get elected and then just go along with the neo-con line which effects both the Republican and Democratic party”
    Which is why this tribute to Israel in every speech bugs me, why is Israel my responsibility? Why aren’t other countries lining up to get involved? Why is it our children dying for this failed idea? There is more to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict than just “Israel is right” having this unflenching support regardless of Israel’s policies with no real understanding of what is going on in the Middle East, scares the shit out of me.

    The idea that we would have this type of support regardless of their policies, sets a stage for us to be even more involved, not less involved in these terrribly immoral, terribly expensive interventions around the world.

    Foreign policy is my issue, if Gary Johnson can explain how is unflenching loyalty to a regime founded on terror, that has been described as an apartheid state by quite a few reputable figures is in our interest…. I am all ears.

    I am frankly tired of our policies being dictated by a state 6000 miles away.

  2. just asking

    Why does he feel the need to slobber over (a non-existent alliance with) Israel all the time.

    Could someone ask him when the US signed this treaty of alliance with Israel?

  3. David Colborne

    Forget Israel for a minute. What’s his position on South Korea, which openly discriminates against anyone not of Korean descent? What’s his position on India, a nuclear power with openly corrupt, criminal politicians and the highest rate of sex-based abortions on the planet? What’s his position on the Philippines, where we’re about to set up a military base after having left the country a decade ago?

    Interesting how the only country Libertarians fixate upon is Israel. Here’s the thing – all of our friends, allies, and strategic partners have flaws. All of them have an incomplete respect for freedom. Yet, when push comes to shove, we hand-wave the rest as “Well, yes, we should leave them to their own devices, too” while we focus our scorn and attention on Israel.

    Personally, I think this is misguided. For better or worse, the vast majority of Americans identify more with Israel than they do any of its neighbors. Some of it is religious, some of it is cultural, some of it is leftover guilt from the Holocaust. Whatever the reason, it simply is and we choose to ignore that at our peril. So, if we want to advance a policy of non-interference, of eliminating imperial ambition from the political landscape, we need to stop focusing so much attention on the one country most Americans want to protect and instead focus on all of the countries we’re dedicated to defend that nobody knows about, like Luxembourg. Then, after proving that non-interference betters our position in the countries we left, we can use that preponderance of evidence to convince the American people that, despite the emotional appeal of standing by Israel, both countries would be better off if we left each other alone.

  4. just saying

    @3 : Gov. Johnson is the one who singled out Israel, unprompted. Johnson did not mention any other “ally.”

    There is a 1953 treaty of alliance with South Korea.

    Where is the treaty of alliance with Israel?

  5. John Jay Myers

    If you have a hang up on defending Israel you have some options, you can send your kids to join the IDF, like Raum Emanuel did.

    Or you can cut them a check.

    If Israel is your issue, more power to you, but just as if saving the whales is your issue, then donate to save the whales.

    Leave my children, my name, and my money out of it.

  6. Jill Pyeatt

    I’m concerned about his allegiance to Israel, too. Is he trying to woo the same people Root has (unsuccessfully) tried to bring over to the LP? Funny thing, I believe in our country first. Israel has been given enough money and weapons that they can and should take care of themselves.

  7. Gene Berkman

    Whether we should have an alliance with any other country is one question, which Libertarians often deal with as an issue of faith rather than analysis.

    The issue of Israel is quite another matter. There are numerous states in the Middle East, and every single one of them has a worse record on civil and economic liberty than Israel has. Certainly Saudi Arabia is much more repressive than even the occupied territories; Egypt, Syria and other countries are constantly in the news because of violent suppression of anti-government protest.

    Everyone is so worried we might intervene to protect Israel, but our largest military action in the Middle East was for the purpose of protecting Saudi Arabia. We provide military aid to a number of Arab regimes that oppress their own subjects, and that in their own societies discriminate against Palestinians, let alone non-Arabs.

    The arguments that some Libertarians, and some on the far left, and even some on the far right make against Israel’s policies go beyond a simple civil libertarian critique, and smack of special animus.

    If Gary Johnson moves the Libertarian Movement away from appearing to have a special animus against Israel, it is another service he will provide.

  8. paulie Post author

    DC @4

    What’s his position on India, a nuclear power with openly corrupt, criminal politicians and the highest rate of sex-based abortions on the planet?

    I thought that was China?

    I don’t know the answer to any of the questions you ask, but I do know that if you want to ask him the next townhall at his site is “Governor Johnson will be hosting an on-line Town Hall on Monday February 6, 2012 beginning at 6PM MST/ 8PM EST.

    Special guest: Mark Rutherford LP Vice Chair

    Please join us and make sure to bring your questions. To view or join chat session, please go to http://www.GaryJohnson2012.com at 6PM MST/ 8PM EST. We look forward to hearing and seeing you.”

  9. paulie Post author

    If Gary Johnson moves the Libertarian Movement away from appearing to have a special animus against Israel, it is another service he will provide.

    I don’t know that Johnson can single handedly move the entire libertarian movement, much of which wants nothing to do with the LP under any circumstances. I’d prefer no special animus or attachment to any foreign nation state by the movement, party or the US regime. Individuals should make their own alliances as they see fit, and the neutrality act should be repealed.

  10. Robert Capozzi

    Like Ls who want to “negotiate” with the State apparatus by staking out near-zero-government positions, some Ls want to stake out a “strict” non-interventionist position as — I guess — a way to move the current configuration away from empires and world’s policeman status.

    GJ doesn’t do either, in part because he’s a politician, which is like being a salesperson. Some find this idea to be “unprincipled,” but I’d suggest it’s how the world works. The idea here is to advocate a change in direction, not a construct/end state.

    I certainly want the LP’s standardbearer to be a dove, and to stop the insanity of the US fighting wars like Iraq, Afghanistan, and to bring the troops home from SK and Germany. I worry not about the details beyond that…

  11. paulie Post author

    RC @12

    Ron Paul is a politician, and a more successful one than Johnson (at least at this point). He has a better foreign policy than Johnson, so I don’t think that it would be too extreme if Johnson had a foreign policy like Ron Paul’s. Apparently quite a fair number of people who are not even libertarians or anarchists of any kind agree with me.

    I do agree that Johnson’s foreign policy does sound better than Obama, Romney, Gingrich or Santorum on that set of issues.

    I also agree with Johnson that he is better than all of the above as well as Ron Paul on abortion, immigration and gay marriage, and I’m glad he has no newsletter problem lurking in his past.

    I wish Johnson would stop pushing the “fair” tax and come out against military tribunals, although I note that Ron Paul has also said that he would probably vote for the “fair” tax over what we have now, Johnson seems more interested in pushing that bad idea.

  12. paulie Post author

    @13

    You would take Harris over someone willing to put millions of dollars of his or her own money into the race?

  13. David Colborne

    @Paulie: It’s both, actually. In China, it’s driven by government policy. In India, it’s driven by a lethal mix of cultural pressure and grinding poverty at the bottom end of their society.

    Personally, I don’t mind us having allies, even allies like India and South Korea – it’s not 1792 anymore, so pretending we can just sit on our big island and nothing will happen to us is naive. I was more going for the point Gene made directly, where it seems a lot of Libertarians are less interested in non-interventionism and more interested in anti-Zionism. One we can sell using principle and logic. The other ends with us writing stupid newsletters and having our pictures taken with A3P and Stormfront.

  14. Johnson/Harris '12

    @15 I would be ecstatic if someone wants to flush their own money into it but I rather have this ticket and let that person with the money open up a Super PAC for Gary Johnson. All I know is if it’s going to be Wayne Root, I’ll puke.

  15. paulie Post author

    Well, the person allegedly willing to donate a lot of money may want to be on the ticket to do it. And I really don’t think it’s Wayne, either.

  16. paulie Post author

    Personally, I don’t mind us having allies, even allies like India and South Korea – it’s not 1792 anymore, so pretending we can just sit on our big island and nothing will happen to us is naive.

    I haven’t seen the evidence that having allies will prevent anything from “happening to us” or that not having allies would mean that we couldn’t do anything about it if it did.

  17. paulie Post author

    it seems a lot of Libertarians are less interested in non-interventionism and more interested in anti-Zionism. One we can sell using principle and logic. The other ends with us writing stupid newsletters and having our pictures taken with A3P and Stormfront.

    I’m more interested in non-interventionism than anti-Zionism. I agree that we should not make Israel then end all and be all of foreign policy discussions, either to support or oppose it.

  18. paulie Post author

    So another similarity: Both Paul and Johnson have a “secret billionaire?”

    I don’t know about billionaire. Maybe, but maybe just multimillionaire, or it may be BS as I still have not heard who this alleged person is.

    There are a number of multimillionaires and billionaires who are libertarians, so it’s possible. It may or may not be the same person. I don’t know who the alleged Ron Paul billionaire was/is either, or whether he or she actually exists.

  19. Johnson/Ventura '12

    This would be the best ticket to unite the left & right of the Libertarian Party plus they both have governing experience and were extremely popular as governors. Ventura has state he would run with Paul or Johnson, though I know a bunch of people here will jump up and down because of Ventura’s conspiracy shows, etc. But the man is veteran and a successful governor. Johnson & Ventura could tap into the Tea Party & Occupy [insert here] movements. Who gives a crap about a secret billionaire? Gary Johnson most likely will not win this election but this ticket could get the % needed to qualify for funding in the 2016 election.

  20. paulie Post author

    Ventura has state he would run with Paul or Johnson,

    When/where did Ventura state he would run as VP for Johnson?

    Who gives a crap about a secret billionaire?

    Lots of people.

    Gary Johnson most likely will not win this election but this ticket could get the % needed to qualify for funding in the 2016 election.

    Not all libertarians think the LP should accept government money for campaigns.

  21. Johnson/Ventura '12

    Ha! Ventura said it on Alex Jones show (I know, I know… I don’t like Alex either).

    I doubt lots of people care about a secret billionaire. Like someone else said, just make a Super-PAC.

    LP would be wise if they get the 5% should take the money because they wouldn’t be able to raise that capital.

  22. paulie Post author

    Ha! Ventura said it on Alex Jones show (I know, I know… I don’t like Alex either).

    Who said I don’t like him? He said on the Alex Jones show he would run VP with Paul. I’ve never heard him say on that show or any other that he would run as VP with Johnson. If he did, someone please provide an audio clip or transcript.

    I doubt lots of people care about a secret billionaire

    I don’t.

    Like someone else said, just make a Super-PAC.

    Someone else at your address?

    I already answered that, and you’ve said nothing to rebut what I said. Neither has your roommate.

    LP would be wise if they get the 5% should take the money because they wouldn’t be able to raise that capital.

    There are plenty of counterarguments to that.

  23. paulie Post author

    @27 So you’re no longer a Billy “white revolution” Roper supporter? I guess you must no longer be an Alan Keyes or Herman Cain supporter either, or an organizer for the Coffee Party.

  24. 24/7 the T-Rex of Talk Radio

    GJ doesn’t plan to drop even one of his Republican Campaign Planks. The Ls will just need to SWALLOW the whole load, even the PUTRID tasting part !

    I have stated before on this site that GJ could definitely do the job, is qualified (much more than Romney) to succeed as POTUS. However we are talking about nominating the man as the LP standard bearer. He falls closer to a statist than he does a purist. That is important to some, more than others.

    What is truly disturbing is GJ isn’t a good fund raiser. As Dr. Phillies pointed out weeks ago (and I have since verified for myself) his campaign was over $200,000 in debt when he announced he was jumping to the LP. On closer investigation I have noticed GJ had raised LESS THAN $75,000 in his state of NM. That friends is ASTONISHING to me. Polls show he was well liked as Gov. and still is by over 50% of NM residents. If he cannot raise millions in his own base state, he was quite naive thinking he could mount a campaign for POTUS.

    IMO GJ thought that he was to “inherit” Dr. Paul’s Revolution. A very large miscalculation on his part. Especially when Dr.Paul failed to exit the stage. Now he even seems to attempt to distance himself from Paul. Another rather foolish calculation on his part. Ron Paul’s campaign has raised over $58M in 5 years (GJ LESS than $1M). If Johnson wishes to inherit the Revolution at anytime in the near future it would serve him well to EMBRACE the Paul Campaign planks where possible.

    As Myers stated above SO MUCH of so many things in the world just isn’t our (or my) damn business. You people who don’t understand NON-INTERVENTIONISM just don’t seem to have the grey cells to UNDERSTAND the U.S. middle class TAXPAYERS spends more on so-called national defense than ALL other nations combined (think about that please). We and others currently (the last time I heard, it may be more now) have the firepower to destroy this planet (as in make it uninhabitable for life as we know it) FIVE and a half times OVER. That’s right complete annihilation of modern society.

    The U.S. can keep a naval force as RJ Harris eludes to, which can carry enough ” U.S. power” (which most CHICKENhawks seem to be so concerned about) to effectively kill over 90% of all humans. Without one single foreign landbase. When will enough be enough ? When can we TRY peace ? When can a navel deterrent be enough to satisfy the CHICKENhawks of this country ?

    As Dr. Paul stated on CNN last night Why doesn’t Briton send their boys over to die for Israel (if Iran is such a danger) ? Why is it always our (U.S.A.) responsibility to send our boys to die and be maimed and always our responsibility to be the policeman of the world ? It’s NOT Dr Paul, it’s certainly NOT our responsibility!

    As for this “multi” Millionaire running mate talk, look back at 2008 and there was similar talk of such a person coming into that LP cycle. It didn’t materalize my friends and I wouldn’t put much confidence in it this time either. So if not, what does that mean for the LP? Another R leading the ticket with little funding means LITTLE results, and that’s a “fairer” statement than Mr.Johnson’s foreign policy and FRAUD TAX is “fair”.

    The LP could nominate Roger Gary and take comfort in knowing the LP Platform would be presented to the nation and the final numbers wouldn’t be that much different ! I can assure you that much cuz.

    or even another idea could be played….

    Ron Paul 2012 – Can you Hear us Now? – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=384JykXEjC4

    PS – I’m waiting on that clip where Ventura said he would veep for Johnson. NEVER heard that before!

  25. paulie Post author

    As for this “multi” Millionaire running mate talk, look back at 2008 and there was similar talk of such a person coming into that LP cycle. It didn’t materalize my friends and I wouldn’t put much confidence in it this time either.

    I don’t recall any such talk in 2008. Certainly no claims of a specific person that allegedly has already agreed to run for VP and throw in large amounts of money a la 1980.

    BTW, does anyone know whether Johnson authorized this “Paid for by Gary Johnson 2012″ message?

    ….2004, when the LP, still reeling from Harry Browne’s machinations,

  26. joe

    @ 28

    Look dickhead, I never supported Billy Roper, my account was hacked at that time and it took me a while for me to correct the issues. BTW, who the hell are you to criticize my support, asshole.

  27. Melty

    I was starting to get cheery about Johnson til I read this. He’s making a special point to talk about the “Fair Tax” and to say “believe in our alliance with Israel”? …oh, why?…
    Why not just make like Paul, except differ with him in a few things just to be a bit more libertarian? That’s what I would do if I were him… it would be so simple. …but no, he’s gotta say “Fair Tax” n “suck Israel ass”…why? oh, why?

  28. Robert Capozzi

    p 14: Ron Paul is a politician, and a more successful one than Johnson (at least at this point).

    me: In some ways. Certainly RP is better known. In terms of consequence, a very strong case could be made that GJ has been more consequential than RP. He accomplished a lot as NM guv. RP is pretty much a backbencher MC. Few of his bills pass, and he very often votes in the minority. His sway over his 434 colleagues has generally been low to non-existent.

    Of course, RP’s legacy and voting record are best viewed not through the prism of “consequence,” but rather the prism of “applied principle.” He is a teacher more than a mover/shaker.

    In my estimation, a message of pure non-interventionism is not only not sellable at this time, it’s a repellent idea for the vast majority. Ending the constructive alliance with Israel tomorrow not only is unpopular, but it stokes the embers of some of L-ism vestigial associations with haters in the Public Mind. ATC, that’s counter-productive to the greater cause of liberty.

    I wish the world were nice, neat and logical. The movie I’m watching is none of those things.

    Like those Ls who suggest the Confederate Elites were justified in waging their insurrection, advocating an immediate end to aid and alliance with Israel is a surefire way to keep Ls and L-ism on the fringes. Making the GENERAL case that a Golden Rule f.p. is IMO wise and virtuous. SPECIFICS, however, require some sense of what the audience is ready for.

  29. paulie Post author

    RP is pretty much a backbencher MC. Few of his bills pass, and he very often votes in the minority. His sway over his 434 colleagues has generally been low to non-existent.

    I was thinking more of Paul’s current and immediate past presidential campaigns and the movement they have spawned, not so much his tenure in Congress.

    advocating an immediate end to aid and alliance with Israel is a surefire way to keep Ls and L-ism on the fringes

    From what I have read ending all foreign aid to all countries is pretty popular, and getting more so. Even the conservatives are war-weary, and the country is too broke to keep playing world police.

    Israel is fully capable of solving its own problems, as my Israeli friends and family tell me. They see US aid as being attached with strings that they would rather live without.

    If you think Johnson as a presidential candidate can get more support than Paul this year, in terms of money raised, media earned or vote percentages, I’d have to say your are wildly optimistic. Ergo, a Ron Paul style foreign policy is not what would prevent his success.

  30. just saying

    @35 — There is no “alliance with Israel” to end tomorrow in the first place.

    You are being delusional.

    Where is the treaty of alliance?

  31. Robert Capozzi

    37 js, please re-read 35. I said “constructive alliance.” Do you understand what I mean there?

    p, yes, many are war weary. Yes, foreign aid is generally unpopular. And, yes, the notion of ending the effective stature of the US as world’s policeman is sellable. That doesn’t mean cutting Israel off tomorrow is good L positioning. You are applying literalism to a non-literal world, it appears.

    Now, if there was no dark history of Ls consorting with anti-Semites and racists, perhaps staking out the “cut Israel off tomorrow” positioning might make some sense, especially if the case can be made that Israel can defend itself. But one need go no further than the RP Newsletters to see that haters circle the periphery of the LM. The forces of anti-liberty can point to those screeds of hatred and associate Ls with haters fairly easily. It requires a very patient audience to disassociate the hate from the case for pure non-intervention.

    However, I’d suggest that the case for moving toward non-intervention flows far more easily. Making general statements like: “I look forward to the day when the US enjoys peaceful relations with all nations and entangling alliances with none” can be sold.

    Making the specific statement: “End all alliances and all foreign aid” tomorrow can be sold outside the LM, but the single biggest bloc of buyers is the hater community. Overall, my assessment is that the number of non-hating buyers are few. And those few are likely pretty far left, so while they may agree on f.p., the L economic message is a HUGE non-starter for them.

    If my assessment is correct, it gives me great pause about the wisdom of that positioning. You?

  32. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    I’m guessing here, but it seems some Ls are either in denial about the LM’s dark past association with haters OR they are aware of that past association but the optics of that association can be overcome by being “consistent,” “principled,” and “absolutist.”

    I’d say the former cannot work. The latter might, although it would probably take decades for that association’s stench to be cleansed.

  33. paulie Post author

    I don’t think your assessment is correct. A lot of people want the US to stop being the world’s police, not just Judaeophobes or domestic big government supporters. Many are small l libertarians, war weary conservatives, and economically insecure Americans of all stripes (and those who sympathize with them) who don’t understand why a country with massive debt and dire domestic problems has hundreds of bases in all corners of the world, spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined, and goes around trying to solve thousand-year-old beefs in the mideast (among many others).

    Some of these people – I hope, not a large percentage – have hater tendencies of various degree. Likewise, some but not all of the people that oppose draconian drug policy are stoners, some but not all people who oppose an overgrown welfare state are greedy rich people, some but not all people who defend self-defense rights have psychosexual attachment to weapons and homicidal fantasies of revenge and/or violent revolution. From this it does not follow that we should support nanny statism, prohibitionism or victim disarmament.

    Actually, of all areas of government policy, foreign aid is one where I think there’s probably a lot of untapped support for rapidly ending it across the board.

    I think Ron Paul’s foreign policy position has been the cornerstone of why he has been propelled to the level of support he has, going back to standing up against Giuliani in a 2008 debate, and that it reaches far beyond haters and big domestic government leftists.

    I don’t think that, if Johnson’s foreign policy was like Ron Paul’s, that he would appeal to fewer people. I think he would appeal to more people than he does now. I do think some people would use the line of attack you mention, just as some people will call him a stoner because he wants to legalize marijuana or a callous plutocrat because he wants to cut the welfare state.

  34. 24/7 the T-Rex of Talk Radio

    GJ has Eric donero as a MAJOR supporter. That speaks VOLUMNS to me. That’s like the stuff that gets on your shoe thats HARD to get off and STINKS up the room in a hurry.

    I don’t intend to associate with that bastard donero on anything! Nor would the LP be wise to let the RLC become a strong force within the Party.

  35. Robert Capozzi

    P, you avoid my point. It’s not any one aspect of aspect of non-interventionism that’re not reasonably sellable, it’s the absolutism that put a ceiling on L voters/ supporters. Can’t prove it either way, but if RP’s at 100% and GJ is at 85%, GJ is more likely to appeal to more. Politics necessarily involves some triangulation.

  36. paulie Post author

    I didn’t avoid your point.

    The ceiling is far above the LP’s current support level, and far above what Johnson can reasonably hope to achieve this year.

    What’s more, without taking a Ron Paul type foreign policy position, I don’t think he’ll get as far as he would if he did, because he won’t excite as many supporters.

    Politics does involve some triangulation, but it helps to know which level you are at and what helps or hurts you from getting to the next level.

    You write as if we are already at Ron Paul levels of support and trying to get above that. Which is far from being the case. First we have to get there.

  37. paulie Post author

    GJ has Eric donero as a MAJOR supporter.

    Yeah, Johnson playing up the fact that Dondero and Roger Stone support him is definitely not a good sign, to say the least.

  38. Let's Replace Principles with Polling

    Ending the constructive alliance with Israel tomorrow not only is unpopular…

    Many LP positions are, or have been, repellent in the public’s mind.

    The LP supported gay marriage as early as the 1970s, no? The vast majority of Americans back then, if they knew the LP’s position, would have been disgusted.

    Ditto the LP’s position on drugs.

    So, should the LP have avoided those unpopular issues? I think not. By sticking to its positions, it was proven right in the long term.

    I also find that many Libertarians are inconsistent whenever they say that “We should avoid issue X because X is unpopular with most Americans.”

    Inconsistent, because I don’t know of any Libertarian who advocates polling for every position. Instead, they cherry pick some unpopular positions to avoid, while embracing other unpopular positions as the “‘principled” thing to do.

    Some Libertarians, if they agree with the purist position, will argue “principle.” If they disagree, they’ll argue “it’s unpopular.”

  39. Robert Capozzi

    P, we can’t know how well RP would do if he took a toned down f.p.

    We can’t know if GJ would net out in terms of his maintaining that SOME alliances vs RP’s none. Nor can we know whether GJ picks up support because he’s pro choice, or loses. I suspect most look at the totality of a candidate, with perhaps a few litmus tests. Taking many most extreme positions increaes the odds of alienating more.

  40. Robert Capozzi

    46 let’s, you overlay a binary analysis where the range of thought is not 0 or 1. And, of course, people take a range of positions on a range of issues.

    Question: Is it your contention that the LP’s absolutism on drugs has worked and been pivotal in bringing about ingestion liberty? Please give specific evidence, if so.

  41. paulie Post author

    P, we can’t know how well RP would do if he took a toned down f.p.

    We can’t “know,” but I’d hazard my opinion that he would be nowhere near as well known or supported as now.

    Taking many most extreme positions increaes the odds of alienating more.

    At this stage we need to worry more about galvanizing support to rise above the noise level than alienating support.

    Foreign policy non-interventionism, like anti-prohibitionism, is a niche market not adequately served by the two biggest parties.

  42. John Jay Myers

    Ron Paul without his foreign policy wouldn’t be generating the money he is now.

    The media and apparently Robert Capozzi always try to spin it as if the young people are excited about RP because of things like the war on drugs, etc. I would say they are excited about freedom!

    But… I think they are most fired and up and mostly hard core over his policy of non-interventionism.

    And I think the nations interest and concern for Israel is grossly exagerated by our media and politicians who pretty much go along with it because they are bought and paid for, or have an allegiance to Israel for religious reasons.

    If Gary Johnson (or any other nominee) is our candidate this year, there is almost no chance they will be elected, but the bigger question is, will our candidate be able to spread a libertarian message, one that will draw members and money into the party like Ron Paul does, if Gary Johnson doesn’t “see the light” soon on foreign policy he stands little chance of doing either.

  43. Jill Pyeatt

    I also agree with John Jay Myers. Foreign policy is a huge issue, and the greatest source of passion in many activists, including me..

  44. Thomas L. Knapp

    JJM@50,

    “And I think the nations interest and concern for Israel is grossly exagerated by our media and politicians who pretty much go along with it because they are bought and paid for, or have an allegiance to Israel for religious reasons.”

    It’s a chicken and egg kind of thing.

    Yes, Israel has a very powerful lobby in the US, pouring lots of political influence and money into keeping the US firmly in Israel’s corner on all issues.

    On the other hand, there are powerful cultural forces — especially dispensationalist Christian beliefs — that make that possible.

    As far as achieving change goes, I suspect the filter works something like this:

    – If you approach it from the direction of ending foreign aid and entangling alliances in general, you’ll get fairly high buy-in. Once that gets specific to Israel, you’ll lose some of that buy-in, but not all of it.

    – If you approach it from ending aid to, and constructive alliance with, Israel in particular, you’ll get much lower buy-in, and not gain much at all by adding as an aside “oh, and all those other countries too.”

    A decade into the “war on terror,” more and more Americans seem to be getting sick of, skeptical of, tired of, etc. rampant US foreign military adventurism and saber-rattling. There’s definitely an opportunity there.

    The LP might possibly make something of that opportunity. It’s less likely to do so if it’s seen as unduly pre-occupied with opposition to Israel in particular, especially if that perception is accurate.

  45. just reading

    @37 – I asked you where is the treaty of alliance with Israel. Do you understand what i said there? So where is it? Either provide some kind of evidence for your delusional assertion, or kindly retract.

  46. Thomas L. Knapp

    jr@55,

    Capozzi was fairly clear — he asserts a “constructive” (“Derived from, or depending on, construction, inference, or interpretation; not directly expressed, but inferred”) alliance of the US and Israel.

    A “constructive alliance” would not be treaty-dependent.

    I happen to disagree with Capozzi on that — I see the relationship between US politicians and Israel as more like the relationship of the Janissaries to the Ottoman Empire than a mutual alliance — but his take does get around the “no treaty” argument.

  47. Robert Capozzi

    Tk, thanks for understanding my point even if disagreeing with it about a constructive treaty.

    I certainly agree with JJM that much RP’s energy comes from his anti-war positioning. I happen to think his calibration is too far and that GJ’s is closer to optimized for this time and place. My guess is RP would be doing better if he dialed it back 10 degrees.

    None of our positions are provable one way or the other. If they are, let’s hear it!

  48. John Jay Myers

    Capozzi you couldn’t be more wrong on that point. If Gary Johnson doesn’t put some real muscle behind his anti-war stance he will be considered useless to the liberty crowd. And that will be the end of it.
    We do not need a third party to be mostly like the other parties “but we mean it” the attraction ie then the money and time invested comes in standing behind a truthful, honest message, and you can’t accomplish that by ignoring what a disaster our foreign policy is, or toning it down.

    That makes you seem like a sell out, and the liberty crowd is not to fond of sell outs, and though Ron Paul may only be getting 20% that 20% is 300 times the support the Libertarian Party gets.

    If you want that kind of support you need to have those kinds of balls.

    Unfortunately most of the LNC and a few like you have to interject this completely misguided “tone it down” policy…….you can’t tone down freedom, and I consider myself a moderate libertarian.

    And if you say we need to become a bigger tent and appeal to more than just people in the liberty movemen (or likely to be) you are wrong, right now we need to appeal to libertarians first.

  49. gail lightfoot

    If all the Ron Paul supporters and the Tea Party participants got on the LP bandwagon the money could be raised. We have to stop giving up before we begin. We The Libertarians can use the Internet to build awareness if we simply chose to do so – again and again. Business or post cards on car windows, emails forwarded over and over. Grab the email addresses in the forwards we get and use them. Keep it simple to avoid strong annoynance but spread the word. If it is to be it is up to me and thee!

  50. paulie Post author

    My guess is RP would be doing better if he dialed it back 10 degrees.

    I don’t think that many Ron Paul supporters I know would have ever become Ron Paul supporters if he did. In fact, without that wave of support, his 2008 run may have been about as significant as Duncan Hunter’s, or perhaps as Johnson’s Republican run was this year.

  51. paulie Post author

    If all the Ron Paul supporters and the Tea Party participants got on the LP bandwagon

    Many Tea Party supporters are backing Romney, Santorum and Gingrich. I’d no more want those people in the LP than the average Obama supporters – that is, I’d only want them in the LP if they changed large parts of their ideology.

    As for Ron Paul supporters, many of them would already be in the LP if they saw the LP doing more and emphasizing peace and end the fed/sound money strongly enough.

    Libertarians are already using the internet to build awareness. Most Libertarians would be better off if they spent more of their time talking to larger numbers of the general public face to face – and not just talking, but also listening.

  52. Robert Capozzi

    59 jjm: If Gary Johnson doesn’t put some real muscle behind his anti-war stance he will be considered useless to the liberty crowd. And that will be the end of it.

    me: I’d say GJ’s position HAS real muscle. Since I’m in the liberty crowd and since many Ls have already decided to support GJ, you are incorrect, I’d go so far as to say indisputably so.

    Real muscle sounds like code for “most extreme position one can get away with,” or some such.

    I continue to prefer a Paul/Johnson ticket in concept, despite NewsletterGate 2.0. On some issues, I prefer Paul. On other issues, I prefer Johnson. I tend to prefer GJ’s tone and lack of serious non-policy baggage.

    Mostly, I see the candidate as communicator of ideas, and Paul’s got the bigger bullhorn to advocate for more liberty and less government.

    Nothing that either of them might or might not say about f.p., abortion, the death penalty, or anything else will have an immediate, near-term impact, so I don’t worry about inconsequential minutiae. Rather, I prefer the most effective vessel for a range of ideas.

    If and when our ideas have actual consequence, we can sort those details out later…

  53. Thomas L. Knapp

    I agree with JJM. Unless Johnson gets more muscular on foreign policy — and believably so, which is the harder part — he’s almost certainly another 500k-vote yawn.

    Of course, he probably is anyway, but that just makes it even more likely the case.

  54. Robert Capozzi

    65 tk, funny use of the word “muscular”…most would I suspect read that as “hawkish,” which I suspect isn’t your intent.

    But, OK, I’ll bite: What is the calibration? He’d be – what – 90% likely for 500K with his current f.p. positioning, maybe 10% for 1MM. If he adopts more RP-ish f.p., and it shifts to 80%/20%?

    Of course, such isolation of one set of issues vs. other issues gets analytically highly uncertain. It also assumes that the political environment remains the same as it is now. Something geopolitical breaks one way or another, and that changes things. Europe experiences a liquidity crisis. Or even something like UE falling back into the 7% range changes things. (Disgruntled BHO leaners might not consider voting against him if an improving economy allows them to vote for him again, despite their disappointment with BHO’s warring ways.)

    So many variables…I just don’t know how you can begin to handicap such a thing….

  55. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@66,

    “funny use of the word ‘muscular’ … most would I suspect read that as ‘hawkish,’ which I suspect isn’t your intent.”

    Yeah, that was poor wording on my part. What I meant is that he personally, as a candidate is going to have to emphasize foreign policy more, and be more non-interventionist on it, and convincingly (i.e. in a way that doesn’t make people go “aw, he’s just telling us what he thinks we want to hear”), to have much of a shot at substantial support from Paul’s supporters, et. al.

    “He’d be – what – 90% likely for 500K with his current f.p. positioning, maybe 10% for 1MM. If he adopts more RP-ish f.p., and it shifts to 80%/20%?”

    If I were calculating odds right now, I’d put him at a 90% chance of polling 400-600k, a 5% chance of polling below 400k, a 3% chance of of polling 500-700k, and a 1% chance of polling above 700k.

    If he convincingly gets more Paulish on foreign policy, I could see his chances of topping 700k going up to as much as 5-10%, and his chances of exceeding a million possibly getting onto the left side of the decimal point.

    All of those numbers assume that he won’t have a veep candidate or SuperPAC pumping money in the $10 million + range into supporting his campaign. That kind of money (Ed Clark money when adjusted for inflation) would make it much more likely that he could ping 1%.

  56. Here's a radical idea

    Foreign policy is of huge importance to libertarians. All 10% of the USA population.
    Ask the millions of people who are out of work what is important. Ask the millions of people that can’t stop getting older and are retiring what is important. Ask the millions of small business owners what is important?
    Jezz, “it’s the economy stupid”.

  57. paulie Post author

    @69 Foreign policy and the economy are linked and 10% of the USA population, presuming they vote in the same proportion as the other 90%, would mean potentially increasing our presidential totals by 2,500%.

    10% of the USA population is about 30 million people. There are less than 300,000 registered Libertarians and less than 15,000 dues paying party members.

    So we’re nowhere near the point where appealing to 10% of the US population works against us.

    And that is what, presuming that people think only about the economy or only about foreign policy.

    Any serious candidate talks about both.

  58. John Jay Myers

    No one who is solely concerned with the economy is voting Libertarian this year. Period.

    When you are in a third party you tackle things differently, first you must drum up support from your base, in the LP’s case you need a base, dissafected people, people who realize the WARs are sinking the economy.
    The war is the economy…. stupid.

    You have to go out on a limb to tell people that all of our wars, war on drugs, war on poverty etc, is ruining our economy. But if you sound like you are light on the one true main issue, the wars, you are not going to get a base.

    Too many of the people who have joined the party expecting us to turn down the anti-war message are clueless to how this party could grow.

    The only way it will ever achieve a critical mass is by appealing to the people who are starting to wake up and get it. And try to do the best we can, but taming the anti-war message turns off the left, and if you want to build a strong third party you need to take from both sides.

    The banks, the wars, the war on drugs are great left issues, that let them know… we are here for you baby.

    Unfortunately the right can be so politically ignorant they think the banks are capitalism…. well thanks to Fox news.

    The issues of getting government out of our lives should be a right issue, but it’s really hard to say that any more.

    I think our focus should be moderates, independents and the left, the right (those with a pro-war policy, who think the banks are capitalists) are dead to us. Though obviously the Ron Paul people would come running.

  59. Robert Capozzi

    67 tk, sounds not unreasonable SWAGs at likely GJ vote totals.

    You may be surprised that I don’t think vote totals are per se all that important. As I see it, there’s very little difference between Clark and Bergland vote totals.

    What does matter is how the messaging is handled. This is a non-quantifiable thing, but those are what makes the world go round.

    As pertains to f.p., I think we get all wrapped around out axles on the minutaie. If GJ lays down compelling soundbites that get people thinking about the wars, policeman of the world, etc., I’d say that’s success. This can be done with general statements, pithily put. There are numerous specifics he can call out that are largely non-controversial in L circles. He doesn’t need to get into the imperialistic occupation of Puerto Rico, for ex.

    Trying to spit out the laundry list of grievances and nuanced cases for blowback from 1953 is not the best use of precious prime time. Instead, there are perhaps 10 narratives that GJ needs to be REALLY good at, and any question can be brought back to those narratives.

    Even if one thinks RP’s the cat’s meow, that it’s a metaphysical certitude that foreign aid, for ex., should be ended tomorrow, there are teachable moments of what NOT to do when at center stage. RP sometimes rambles, trying to get his laundry list out there in the Public Mind, but, given the time allotted, it comes across as disjointed. When he tries to explain blowback, it’s easily twisted to sound as if he’s just blaming America first. (I note that he’s latched onto this Golden Rule f.p., which for me works a lot better.)

    GJ has some of this ramble factor, too.

    He also has staked out a lot of positions over the past year. Were I advising him, and he was asked, “You mention RP a lot. RP wants to end aid Israel tomorrow. Do you?”

    He could respond: “There’s no question that Dr. Paul has long been challenging US foreign policy as being overreaching, expensive, and counter-productive. How many more Vietnams do we need to learn that lesson? How many more body bags do we need to see coming home from the Middle East? How many trillions of dollars to we need to waste before we wake up to the truth that our f.p. is bankrupting this great nation? We need a new model for US foreign policy…I’m convinced of that, and I believe a growing number of Americans are convinced of that, too. How we transition from the current dangerous policies to one of peaceful relations and a true national defense, that’s the conversation I believe we need to have. It may be necessary to maintain some of our current alliances and friendships with specific nations like Israel as a bridge to a wiser, more enlightened foreign policy.

    Or something.

    GJ, or any L candidate, is not going to please every single L on every single issue. That’s impossible. There are Ls who believe the “moral” thing is an immediate, unilateral disarmament by the US. That position could well “excite” some people. It could “incite” others!

    I see why some Ls believe that. US weapons are inherently dangerous. They were bought and paid for by “stolen” taxes. That leads them to the syllogistic conclusion: Therefore, disarm. Disarm now! Hold high that banner.

    Is that good logic? I’d say no, but then logic rests on subjective assumptions.

    Is that good L politics? Do I need to answer?….

  60. Kevin Knedler

    I often tell the Ohio troops our target audience should be “middle america”, independents, “blue-dog” Democrats, fiscal conservatives, Ron Paul supporters, and small business owners. You add that group up and you have a huge potential base of support.

  61. paulie Post author

    JJM

    No one who is solely concerned with the economy is voting Libertarian this year. Period.

    I wouldn’t make a categoric statement like that, but I agree with the rest of JJM @71. Add what Kevin says @73 and the added realization that some of the time they are in fact the same people (shocking, I know) and you begin to realize the LP’s real potential.

    I say put the most emphasis on what we have in common with the left for these main reasons

    1) We haven’t been doing it, so the lowest hanging fruit has not been picked

    2) The people least likely to be set in their ways and firmly attached to an existing duopoly party tend to cluster left-center-libertarian — primarily young people. You can still get people later in life,but it’s about ten times harder to get them to switch..

    3) Ron Paul is already successfully reaching many of these same people

    4) It helps to have a narrative that we are not just “spoiling” one side or the other but equally unspoiling both (as Johnson does to his credit on social/cultural issues).

    Now if Johnson would just take take a Ron Paul stance on foreign policy, civil liberties issues that are tied in closely with foreign policy and on taxes, he would have exactly what it takes to reach our most prime untapped audience.

  62. paulie Post author

    As pertains to f.p., I think we get all wrapped around out axles on the minutaie. If GJ lays down compelling soundbites that get people thinking about the wars, policeman of the world, etc., I’d say that’s success.

    To some extent you’re right.

    But:

    Keep in mind that the reason we are talking about this is that Johnson went out of his way to point out to an ACLU audience that one of the differences between himself and Ron Paul is that he believes in maintaining alliances with Israel (his example) among others and what he euphemistically calls a strong national defense (if you watched the recent Republican debates, Ron Paul did a good job in one of them – I think in Florida – pointing out the difference between military adventurism and actual national defense).

    That was Johnson speaking. To a liberal-libertarian audience.

  63. paulie Post author

    RP sometimes rambles, trying to get his laundry list out there in the Public Mind, but, given the time allotted, it comes across as disjointed. When he tries to explain blowback, it’s easily twisted to sound as if he’s just blaming America first. (I note that he’s latched onto this Golden Rule f.p., which for me works a lot better.)

    GJ has some of this ramble factor, too.

    From the article at Reason linked in the story:

    “After five minutes of small talk in a makeshift green room at the Doubletree Inn, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero introduced Johnson to a crowd of 100 or so ACLU staffers as the most conservative former governor running for president and the top scorer on the group’s policy scorecard. I expected Johnson to talk civil liberties right out of the gate, much the way GOP frontrunners Gingrich and Romney have tailored their speeches throughout Florida based on the demographics of a given crowd. But instead of leading with the drug war, gay marriage, or indefinite detention, Johnson started his speech the same way he starts most of his speeches: by describing his commitment to cutting federal spending by 43 percent.

    As a result, the ACLU audience barely made a peep for the first 12 minutes of Johnson’s speech, though one person gesticulated approval, OWS-style, when Johnson said he’d cut the military’s budget and end Obama’s interventionism. It wasn’t until he got started on legalizing marijuana that the crowd (figuratively) lit up. …”

  64. paulie Post author

    Were I advising him, and he was asked, “You mention RP a lot. RP wants to end aid Israel tomorrow. Do you?”

    He could respond: “There’s no question that Dr. Paul has long been challenging US foreign policy as being overreaching, expensive, and counter-productive. How many more Vietnams do we need to learn that lesson? How many more body bags do we need to see coming home from the Middle East? How many trillions of dollars to we need to waste before we wake up to the truth that our f.p. is bankrupting this great nation? We need a new model for US foreign policy…I’m convinced of that, and I believe a growing number of Americans are convinced of that, too. …”

    I’d say cut it off right there.

  65. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@72,

    “You may be surprised that I don’t think vote totals are per se all that important.”

    No, I’m not surprised. I think you’ve said so more than once.

    “As I see it, there’s very little difference between Clark and Bergland vote totals.”

    That’s true.

    If you don’t think vote totals are that important, though, I don’t understand why you’re so concerned with seeing LP candidates “calibrate” their approach to traditional vote-total-maximizing standards.

  66. Robert Capozzi

    78 tk, because it’s not vote calibration. It’s a maximization of attractiveness of a set off ideas. it’s a kind of gateway “drug,” a way to introduce a liberty-based approach, a non-left/right paradigm to larger audiences. It does LOOK like vote maximization, since that’s the role a pol plays.

    I advocate a fake it til you make approach. Look “real” even if you’re not quite there….

  67. paulie Post author

    Looking real is all good.

    Johnson’s views on social issues plus Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy and taxes, and significant cuts in spending and regulation, with Johnson’s executive and business experience, would be a great combination.

  68. Robert Capozzi

    P, for you. For others, nothing short of legalizing bestiality will do. 😉

    The horse is pretty much out of the barn for GJ. Tweaks might be doable.

    This is the closest we’ll get to Secretariat this cycle…

  69. paulie Post author

    Well actually for me I’d go a lot further than either Paul or Johnson, as you know. I was talking about optimizing his outreach potential.

  70. Robert Capozzi

    80 p, interesting. Are you suggesting that GJ would optimize his message by MODERATING his fiscal plan, making them less “muscular” like RP’s?

  71. paulie Post author

    I suggested dropping the “fair tax.” The income tax brings in less than the 43% of spending that Johnson proposes to cut.

  72. Robert Capozzi

    75 p: That was Johnson speaking. To a liberal-libertarian audience (at the ACLU).

    ME: And you find this somehow incongruous? My gut tells me liberals believe in alliances. So do those who read the Constitution, since treaties are specified, actually. I’ve seen no evidence that progressives are anti-Israel EXCEPT the hardest left.

    Liberals are internationalists.

    As for the tactic of compare-and-contrast with RP in that forum, I think I get the intent. Whether GJ optimized his opportunity is hard to say.

    My guess is that among the Normals, the “I like RP but I differ here, here and here” is wise. Yes, he loses the “Pelt Hannity” types and the Nazi-leaning elements in the R3volution, but he picks up the “I like RP except he’s too extreme.”

    Is he provoking/alienating the R3volutionaries, like Barr did, then? Certainly a subset. If an RP supporter has a litmus test against the constructive alliance with Israel, then GJ fails. If an RP supporter has a litmus test for being pro-life, GJ fails.

    Ya can’t please everyone at this Garden Party.

  73. Hardy Macia

    @84 – The 43% Johnson wants to cut is the ~1.6 trillion deficit. It’s what the US government is currently borrowing and printing.

    The FairTax is designed to deal with the other 57% of the budget that is paid for by the combination of personal income tax, corporate income tax, gift tax, estate tax, payroll tax, and capital gains taxes — FairTax abolishes all of them and the IRS and replaces them with national consumption tax. Note that the bill abolishes all of those taxes as a requirement to impose the national consumption tax in their place.

  74. Hardy Macia

    For everyone that is comparing Johnson’s and Paul’s antiwar positions — they are 99.9% the same. End all foreign aid. End all wars and nation building. Close most of our foreign bases. Let our allies pick up the tab for their own defense.

    The distinction Johnson makes is that you maintain alliances with countries and you just don’t we are done with all of our alliances since we might need some of these alliances to go to port for our Navy 1/2 around the world to refuel once in a while or whatever other reason we might want to maintain good relations with countries.

    The point is 99% of the costs associated with the foreign policies of both Johnson and Paul are the same..

    Where they are different is Johnson is promising bigger cuts in the military spending and promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in 2013… Paul will take 3 years to get to a balanced budget and only cuts military 10% according to Paul’s Budget/Tax Plan. Paul’s Budget/Tax Plan plan also leaves the personal income tax intact and cuts the corporate income tax to 15% — Johnson is calling for a full overhaul of our tax system and abolishment of the IRS as part of his plan.

  75. paulie Post author

    And you find this somehow incongruous?

    Yes.

    My gut tells me liberals believe in alliances. So do those who read the Constitution, since treaties are specified, actually. I’ve seen no evidence that progressives are anti-Israel EXCEPT the hardest left.

    This has nothing to do with being anti-Israel. People who propose strict neutrality by the US government aren’t necessarily anti-Israel. And even people who don’t propose a strictly neutral policy don’t have to go out of their way to point that out, especially to an audience that does not demand it.

    As for the tactic of compare-and-contrast with RP in that forum, I think I get the intent. Whether GJ optimized his opportunity is hard to say.

    My guess is that among the Normals, the “I like RP but I differ here, here and here” is wise.

    I think the compare and contrast was good, and he was wise to point out his differences with Paul on immigration, abortion and gay marriage. He should have left it at that. There was absolutely no need to signal that he is for more foreign alliances than Ron Paul, particularly to that audience.

    he loses the “Pelt Hannity” types and the Nazi-leaning elements in the R3volution

    Let me see if I understand you correctly. If Johnson gave the exact same speech to the ACLU but left out his brief foray into foreign policy, goose stepping and hitler salutes would have ensued? Maybe a beerhall putsch?

  76. paulie Post author

    FairTax (sic) abolishes all of them and the IRS and replaces them with national consumption tax.

    It’s a lot easier to institute a new tax than get rid of an existing one, and it’s disingenuous to say that it would get rid of the IRS. Some agency or agencies has to administer the tax an ensure compliance, regardless of what you call it. I know this may come as a shock to some, but just because you call a tax “fair” does not mean a lot of people (in this case merchants) will not try to evade it.

    Also, the fraudulent “fair” tax does not abolish all those other taxes – it “sunsets” them to supposedly phase them out after the new tax is implemented over a period of time. We all know that Congress has never extended or revoked sunset clauses before, right?

  77. paulie Post author

    For everyone that is comparing Johnson’s and Paul’s antiwar positions — they are 99.9% the same. End all foreign aid. End all wars and nation building. Close most of our foreign bases. Let our allies pick up the tab for their own defense.

    The distinction Johnson makes is that you maintain alliances with countries and you just don’t we are done with all of our alliances since we might need some of these alliances to go to port for our Navy 1/2 around the world to refuel once in a while or whatever other reason we might want to maintain good relations with countries.

    When and where has Ron Paul suggested we not maintain good relations with other countries? I’m thinking that the words Johnson chose to speak on that occasion signal something other than “end all foreign aid….let our allies pick up the tab for their own defense.” If that had been what he had said, I doubt anyone here would have made an issue of it.

  78. paulie Post author

    Where they are different is Johnson is promising bigger cuts in the military spending and promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in 2013… Paul will take 3 years to get to a balanced budget and only cuts military 10% according to Paul’s Budget/Tax Plan. Paul’s Budget/Tax Plan plan also leaves the personal income tax intact and cuts the corporate income tax to 15% — Johnson is calling for a full overhaul of our tax system and abolishment of the IRS as part of his plan.

    I prefer Johnson’s plan for greater cuts in the military budget and balancing the budget sooner. I don’t like his plan for a full overhaul of the tax system at all, for numerous reasons laid out in past threads. Other than my skepticism that the income and other taxes would actually get abolished if this ever actually happens, we can start with the “prebate.”

  79. paulie Post author

    The 43% Johnson wants to cut is the ~1.6 trillion deficit. It’s what the US government is currently borrowing and printing.

    I realize that. But there are other approaches that could be taken for eliminating the income tax (for example). A plan to eliminate the deficit over several years could eliminate the income tax immediately, and focus on economic growth to expand revenue from other existing sources, while eliminating additional taxes over time by further cuts in spending in future years. Or, it may take several years to cut and eventually eliminate the income tax and/or some other taxes.

    There are many ways to address the problem without introducing a new tax/near-universal welfare system.

  80. Robert Capozzi

    88 p, no, not close. My point is that GJ should.be atractive to most Paulistas, except the extreme rabble rousers and the Stormfront-type element. Sorry I wasn’t clear.

  81. paulie Post author

    I agree that he should. I just don’t think it’s really necessary or helpful towards that goal for him to list “I do believe in a strong national defense. I do believe in our alliance with Israel, for example. And I think military alliances are key to reducing military spending by 43 percent and still provide for a strong national defense” as being among his key differences with Ron Paul, especially to an ACLU audience. Take that out and you get “And I think it’s important to point out differences between myself and Ron Paul. I don’t support building a fence across the border, I do support gay marriage equality. And I believe in a woman’s right to choose.” That sounds much better to me, both as a libertarian and thinking back on how it would have sounded to me back when I was a progressive with a strong emphasis on peace and civil liberties.

    He could have either
    1. Not mentioned foreign policy at all
    2. Addressed it in the way Hardy Macia just did above.

    Either would have been much better IMO than what he actually said.

    I’ll concede it was not necessarily as big a deal as this thread makes it seem though – after all the biggest concern of the audience at the end of the speech was that he might take away votes from President Obama, whom they felt Johnson had more in common with than with Gingromney, even after being introduced as a staunch fiscal conservative, spending his first 12 minutes on that, and pointing out differences with Ron Paul on foreign policy as he did.

  82. Robert Capozzi

    94 p, I agree that the contrast is better on social issues, where GJ has an entirely different position. On f.p., they are in the same direction, more or less.

    Root – I recall – makes a point of calling out RP’s position on the constructive alliance with Israel as a lead item, and it doesn’t ring for me when he does it, either.

    Internally especially, I don’t know TOO many Ls who have a Jones with RP’s position on Israel in a prominent way…perhaps Bruce Cohen? The extreme absolutists on non-interventionism may litmus test GJ out of contention, but, then, they might do so with RP, too. My guess is they are few in number.

    So, I agree that GJ probably should dial back his contrasting himself with RP 10 degrees or so. It’s wise for him to do it, respectfully, as he has been, just tweaked back some.

  83. paulie Post author

    I agree that the contrast is better on social issues, where GJ has an entirely different position. On f.p., they are in the same direction, more or less.

    The are in the same direction on social issues as well. See the ACLU scorecard. Both are better than Obama, Romney, Gingrich, Santorum and the exited Republican candidates, with Paul being better than Johnson on civil liberties issues that are related to foreign policy and Johnson being better than Paul on purely domestic social/civil liberties issues.

  84. John Jay Myers

    I am sure that score card is bias towards government being involved in some way, where as Ron Paul wants government involved in no way, which would be the more libertarian stance.

  85. just saying

    There’s one category insisting the government be involved in blessing same-sex marriage contracts.

    There’s another new category which they’ve added since christmas which is biased towards more federal government involvement in expanding involvement in the voting process to more people.

    Oh, and a third which demands more government involvement in processing, welfarizing and naturalizing migrants.

  86. paulie Post author

    There’s one category insisting the government be involved in blessing same-sex marriage contracts.

    Yep, they’re against marriage discrimination, as they should be.

    There’s another new category which they’ve added since christmas which is biased towards more federal government involvement in expanding involvement in the voting process to more people.

    As opposed to vote suppression, yes. Not really a factor here since neither Johnson nor Paul is ranked on that one.

    Oh, and a third which demands more government involvement in processing, welfarizing and naturalizing migrants.

    You mean they support immigration rights.

  87. Humongous Fungus

    Candidate Report Card: GARY JOHNSON

    VOTER SUPPRESSION
    No stated position.

    RACIAL PROFILING = Four Torches

    Believes TSA should identify high-risk individuals for invasive pat-downs and full-body scans versus using racial profiling of the general population.

    Opposes Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, saying, “it’s going to lead to racial profiling. I don’t how you determine one individual from another—is it color of skin?—as to whether one is an American citizen or the other is an illegal immigrant.”

    HUMANE IMMIGRATION POLICY = Three Torches

    Supports the DREAM Act, which provides access to higher education and military service for many, regardless of immigration status.

    Opposes the completion of a US-Mexico border fence.

    CLOSING GUANTANAMO BAY & INDEFINITE DETENTION = Two Torches

    Supports keeping Guantanamo Bay open because it is necessary for “enemy combatants.”

    Believes individuals detained anywhere by the U.S. have due process rights and must not be held
    indefinitely without charges or trial.

    GAYS & LESBIANS SERVING OPENLY IN THE MILITARY = Four Torches

    Supports the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as “long overdue.”

    ENDING TORTURE = Three Torches

    Opposes the use of torture against criminal or terrorist suspects.

    ENDING A SURVEILLANCE STATE = Three Torches

    Thinks the PATRIOT Act should be allowed to expire.

    MARRIAGE EQUALITY = Four Torches

    Opposes the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

    REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE = Two Torches

    Supports a woman’s right to choose abortion until “viability” and favors banning late-term abortions and withholding public funding.

  88. Humongous Fungus

    Candidate Report Card: RON PAUL

    VOTER SUPPRESSION

    No stated position.

    RACIAL PROFILING = Two Torches

    Opposes “Islamaphobia” and the racial profiling of Muslims, and said in September 2010, “this blame of all Muslims for the atrocities of 9/11 only makes things worse.”

    Has denied he was the author of racist and discriminatory statements against African Americans, Jewish Americans and gays and lesbians in newsletters published under his name in the 1980s and 1990s.

    HUMANE IMMIGRATION POLICY = Two Torches

    Opposes the completion of a US-Mexico border fence.

    Opposes privacy intrusions created by Arizona’s SB 1070 anti-immigration law, which criminalizes the lack of immigration papers, gives police broad authority to arrest people and promotes racial profiling.

    Wants to end birthright citizenship and effectively repeal the 14th Amendment for one class of people.

    CLOSING GUANTANAMO BAY & INDEFINITE DETENTION = Four Torches

    Opposes a two-tiered system where suspected terrorists—not convicted terrorists—are held indefinitely without charges or trial.

    Says new detention powers under the pending National Defense Authorization Act should “scare the living hell out of every American.”

    GAYS & LESBIANS SERVING OPENLY IN THE MILITARY = Four Torches

    Voted in December 2010 to repeal the law. “You just have the same rules for everybody and treat them all the same,” he said.

    ENDING TORTURE = Three Torches

    Says that “waterboarding is torture” and “illegal” and opposes all “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

    ENDING A SURVEILLANCE STATE = Four Torches

    Opposes the PATRIOT Act because it is “unpatriotic” and wants the broad powers it grants revoked.

    During a November 2011 GOP presidential debate in Washington, DC, he said, “If you advocate the police state, yes, you can have safety and security and you might prevent a crime, but the crime then will be against the American people and against our freedoms.”

    MARRIAGE EQUALITY = One Torch

    Opposes a federal constitutional marriage amendment.

    Supports the Defense of Marriage Act as a matter of states’ rights.

    REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE = No Torches

    Opposes the federal government’s authority to regulate abortion yet, in October 2003, voted in favor of the so-called “partial-birth” abortion ban.

    Signed the Susan B. Anthony List’s “Pro-Life Pledge” in June 2011 that mandates a pro-life agenda in office.

    Believes states should be given free rein to ban abortion.

  89. just saying

    @100 you may agree with the ACLU position on those issues, but they all entail more & bigger government; which was the question posed

  90. paulie Post author

    Opposing marriage discrimination is not “bigger government” any more than bringing back interracial marriage bans is “smaller government.”

    Opposing birthright citizenship is not “smaller government,” it’s just discrimination plain and simple.

    DoMA is not “smaller government” any way you slice it.

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